With the rest of the snacks being either fried or made up of carbs completely, popcorns are unlike them all. They’re all grain and definitely not fried. Many call popcorn a healthy snack option. But are they really one?
Whole grains—oatmeal, barley, brown rice, teff, and yes, corn, to name a few—are rich in vitamins, minerals, and some even offer a little protein. Grains are also high in fiber, which has been proven to keep your ticker healthy, help maintain a healthy weight, and promote a healthy GI tract.
Popcorn is also a type of corn that’s not highly processed. The less processing there is, the more nutrients are intact in the grain. But when it comes to the nutritional value of your popcorn, it really depends on how it’s cooked and what you put on it.
If you look at a no-frills bag of pre-popped popcorn, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Or, dare we say, penny for your pop. Popcorn is a high-volume food, meaning you can eat quite a bit for very few calories. Let’s take a look at the nutrition for a serving of pre-popped sea salt popcorn and a serving of microwave sea salt popcorn.
And the type of oil one uses to make it matters, when it comes to the health of your popcorn, she says, recommending coconut oil, which, if you’re making your own on the stovetop, has a higher smoke point. The worst kind of oil is partially hydrogenated oil, which is a type of trans fat.
According to MyFitnessPal, a small popcorn, without butter, has 225 calories with 11 grams of fat. A large, without butter, clocks in at a whopping 1,030 calories and 41 grams of fat. To reiterate, that’s without
butter. And the butter used on movie theater popcorn isn’t actually butter; it’s a partially hydrogenated soybean oil (a trans fat), beta carotene for coloring, tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) as a synthetic preservative, polydimethylsiloxane to prevent foaming, and butter flavoring
That said, with minimal, good-for-you ingredients, popcorn is an excellent snack that’s high in whole grains, minerals, vitamins, and flavor that will also keep you feeling full. Your best bet is to pop your own on the stovetop, where you have control over the type and quantity of the ingredients